By Rick Ludolph email@example.com Softwa plywoodMre cutAm tinXax gIi eMmiz fficIe iZs enEcSy
New markets and technology support help plywood frame maker adapt.
Ralph’s Frame Works provides high-end wood frames to
some of the industry’s top residential furniture brands
including Baker, Henredon, Michael Thomas, and
Stickley; as well as institutional leaders AC Furniture, OFS
Brands (Carolina), and Southfield Furniture.
“We were able to diversify our business by expanding our
capabilities beyond residential into frames for office, healthcare,
and hospitality furniture”, says owner Tommy Rice. “This has
allowed us to keep growing even as the residential business has
slowed. Our current production mix is approximately 50 percent
hospitality, 30 percent healthcare, and 20 percent residential.”
This manufacturing flexibility helps the company better
meet the needs of a wide range of clients. Patrician Furniture,
the company’s oldest customer, produces furniture for businesses, universities, hotels, hospitals and government facilities.
Succeeding in these diverse market segments has required
Ralph’s management and production teams to learn, develop,
and manage a wide range of capabilities and business processes.
Contract vs. furniture
“One of the hardest lessons I had to learn was how to work
in the contract furniture business,” added Rice. “We like the
fact that there is greater volume of orders upfront, but we
often don’t see the repeat business like we do with residential.
The pressure of working in this model is that we must do
much more engineering and development work on a product
that we may only produce once. With contract furniture, we
may get a single order for 300 pieces and then never see it
again. But even with reorders, some residential orders may
add up to only 300 pieces over the entire lifetime of the
An important key to the modern day success of Ralphs’
Frame Works is the product development expertise that they
have honed over the years. Rice leverages these skills and
supporting technology as a competitive advantage to win new
business and strengthen existing relationships.